I've decided to get to work on another larger project, one with some continuity. I never know how these things will turn out in the end, which is a stress for me.
In this case, it's also very cliché, a big ol' mountain lion perched on a tall rock with some trees and mountains in the background. Maybe I will later stumble upon some way of adding more interest. I got a lot of positive feedback about being able to see the fish underwater in "Hyde Creek", which was a gimmick that I though redeemed an otherwise kitschy river scene. Please click here to see my "Hyde Creek" artwork. I'd like to come up with something analogous to that for this cat.
This is just the start of the project, called "underpainting". In a true underpainting, you start with your design (in classical art, this was known as a "cartoon"), which you draw on paper and transfer onto the canvas. Then you choose your palette of colours and lay down solid blocks of colour to represent your visual elements. Then you begin to blend the colours.
With digital art, I created a composition using several photos of mountain lions. I cut and pasted several visual elements together to build the structure of the cat: a face from one photo, paws from another, a body from a third, and so on. Then, I used Photoshop to define my palette of colours, and sampled them onto the image as you see above.
With digital paint, this goes much faster than with real paint. Not only do I never have to worry about paint consistency or dryness, I can also break the image up into layers. You can see the layers that represent the parts of the painting that I have yet to begin. All that's missing is a flock of "M" birds.